Theater archives

A Lot of Broadway Flops This Season, And I Love It!


No, I’m not thrilled that hard-working people are suddenly out of work.

But I happen to be fascinated by Broadway flops, so I’ve gotten a perverse kick out of their return as a genre.

My reasons are as follows:

*I can say I saw them!

In future years, I’ll be able to dine off the fact that I actually witnessed The Performers (a comedy about porn stars who want to be monogamous), Scandalous (a musical about evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson and her hunky husbands; see above photo), and The Anarchist (a two-character play in which a lesbian ex-Jew pleads for her release from the clink)–all of which have shuttered after not exactly getting raves–not to mention the mediocre Chaplin, which goes silent in January. If you don’t think I’ll be keeping all four of those Playbills, you’re daft.

*The theaters have become available for something better.

*And mainly because there was a long stretch of time when almost everything seemed to click on Broadway. And that was because antsy producers only brought in shows that had been pre-tested, given awards, and packaged for a surefire success. There were no surprises!

But now, people are obviously investing in some crazy projects and bringing them to New York even though the sensible money would say “This won’t work!” And I love it. It could mean a return to messy but fascinating misfires that will add some diversity to the parade of slick, tourist-friendly hits we always get. It could spawn a throwback to the days when weird stuff hit the boards, not just box-office-igniting revivals, jukebox shows, and middlebrow movie adaptations.

So bring on the flops!

I cheer their arrival (but not vocally).